(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "The Gay Genius"

THE END                                    339

"I was punished for my crimes and was living in hardship in the
south. Compared with the ancients, I should have deserved more
than death. But God did not take away my life—he took away my

, relatives. My sister was married to the Liu family in a happy, worthy
marriage. Why did you both die? Why did not one of you remain?

j Now I have returned from the south and the grass over your graves
has seen its second spring. I weep my eyes out while you lie under-
ground a few feet away. Hung has a good character and can take
care of himself. I am old and poor, of what use is such an uncle to
him? . . ."

The next day some visitors found him lying on his side facing the
L wall and shaking with sobs, so that he could not get up to receive them,
The visitors were the sons of a retired premier, Su Sung, and they
thought that Su Tungpo was weeping on account of the death of their
father. Su Sung had died at the age of eighty-two. Although bearing
the same surname he was not from the same province as the poet. Su
Tungpo had known him for thirty or forty years, but it is difficult to
believe that he was so much shaken even upon learning of such an old
friend's death. Besides, on the previous day, when Su heard the news,
he did not go personally to say prayers at the grave but had sent his
eldest son Mai in his stead. The source of this grief, I believe, must be
read in the poem just quoted.

Among the scholars of the town who were unable to see Su Tungpo
there was Chang Yuan, the eldest son of Chang Chun. As Su Tungpo
was very ill, he had refused to see many visitors. Chang Chun had a
year ago been banished to the Luichow Peninsula and his son was on
his way to visit him. When Su Tungpo was chief examiner, he had
picked Chang Yuan as first among the candidates, and so Chang,
according to the old custom, was considered his disciple. That was
about nine years before. Chang Yuan knew what his father had done
to the Su brothers, and he had heard that they might be recalled to
power any time. Therefore he wrote a letter of seven hundred words
to Su Tungpo. It was a very difficult letter to write. He gave the many
reasons why he had not dared to call, and frankly said that he had
hesitated a great deal because of his father. Very gently he suggested
that when Su should again be serving by the Emperor's side, a word
from him might decide the fate of others. Chang Yuan was afraid that
Su Tungpo might do to his father what his father had done to him.
He hoped perhaps for an interview with the poet, or to get a reply
indicating his attitude.

If Chang Yuan thought that Su Tungpo entertained ideas of revenge,
he was greatly mistaken. Su Tungpo had heard of Chang Chun's
banishment while on his return journey. There was one Huang Shih